The mayoral by-election in Kaohsiung is to be held on Aug. 15, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said yesterday, after officially announcing Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) removal from office following last weekend’s recall vote.
The commission certified the results of last weekend’s recall vote, confirming that 964,141 valid ballots were cast, with 939,090, or 97.4 percent, in favor of recalling the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) mayor.
As Han served less than half of his four-year term, which was set to end in late 2022, a by-election must be held within three months of the recall vote.
Following the vote’s confirmation, the Executive Yuan appointed former Kaohsiung City Government secretary-general Yang Ming-jou (楊明州) as Kaohsiung acting mayor.
Yang would hold the position until the new mayor is selected, while the winner of the by-election would serve until December 2022, the end of Han’s term.
In related news, Democratic Progressive Party Kaohsiung City Councilor Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) yesterday said that the city government falsified information and used public funds for Han’s farewell concert on Thursday.
“The officials who approved the application for the event helped to falsify the information and, in doing so, broke the law,” Kang said.
The lawn on which it was heldbelongs to the city and has never been rented out to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Kang said.
“We later found that the city’s Information Bureau applied to use the lawn and then rented it out to an NGO, but the city’s by-laws do not permit this,” she said.
A prominent Han supporter, Lee Yi-hsiu (李易修), heads the Takao Zan Culture Association, the NGO that rented the lawn, she added.
“Lee set up the association on Monday and sent the registration papers to the city government on Wednesday — it has not yet been approved as an official organization,” Kang said.
“We question where the money came from and why it was given fast-track approval by Han’s aides,” she said, adding that the association was not yet eligible to take donations or rent a public space.
“This is a mayor who got ousted by nearly 940,000 Kaohsiung residents — a man who was kicked out of his job — yet he still used taxpayers’ money to pay for his farewell concert,” the Wecare Kaohsiung coalition of civic groups behind the recall campaign said in a statement.
“If Han did not use public funds for the event, then he should come forward and explain where the money came from,” it added.
Kaohsiung Information Bureau Director-General Cheng Chao-hsin (鄭照新) said that the event did not use one cent of public funds.
“Our bureau acted as an advising body to main organizer the Takao Zan Culture Association, which has promised to pay for any damage to the lawn... We are disappointed by critics who deliberately made things difficult, even for Mayor Han’s last hours at work,” he said.
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